I’m from Houston. My blog homepage says I’m from Austin, but I’m from Houston. If you actually want to get technical I’m really from West Monroe, Louisiana or as I like to call it Southern Arkansas.
The Houston Texans are my football team even when they aren’t winning. The Spurs are my basketball team, unless the Rockets are winning so then the Houston Rockets are my basketball team.
I went to the University of Houston and I have lived in the suburbs of Spring/Woodlands, the Heights, Montrose, and the urban sprawl of Westchase. My first corporate job was in the oil industry.
Every year there is an event that occurs in Houston that everyone knows about. No it’s not the Renaissance festival. It’s not Hurricane season. Every year offices and families across the city, even the nation are preparing for the ride of a lifetime and for other’s lives.
This event is called the BPMS150. From the BPMS150 website:
“The BP MS 150 is a two-day fundraising bike ride organized by the National MS Society, South Central Chapter. The ride is the largest event of its kind in North America, with 13,000 cyclists, 3,500 volunteers, and countless spectators along the route and at the finish line in Austin. The fundraising goal for the 2017 BP MS 150 is $16 million dollars to bring hope to many who are affected by multiple sclerosis.”
Truth day – at the start I really was more interested in riding my bike for ~150mi. from Houston to Austin more than anything. Of course I like supporting good causes, but really until recently I only knew of MS as a degenerative nervous system disease. My main motivator above all was to ride, but there is nothing wrong with that. This is part of the success and brilliance of fundraising events like the BPMS150.
The MS society does an outstanding job of generating awareness within and outside of the event. While riding you find sponsors of the event with portapotties dedicated to their name at break stops along the route. The line to warm water showers include information and stories of people living with MS. You find these sorts of publicity easter eggs all around.
Some bike riders are riding in memory of their loved ones and include photos with mementos affixed in various ways to the back of their bikes. All of this gave me a much stronger appreciation for what we were really riding for.
13,000 cyclists rode in the BPMS150 and many others were present to support the event. The logistics to accomplish such a feat is nothing less than impressive, especially for how smooth everything went. This is from the start day, the campout in LaGrange, and through to the finish line.
You would think that 150 miles is impossible and that you would need to be in incredible shape, but that wasn’t the case. All anyone needs to finish the ride is pure determination. People from all walks of life, of all shapes, ages and types were finishing the race. You will be 12 hours in, butt sore and tired from peddling non-stop for hours, then look to your right to see someone’s granny outpacing you without breaking a sweat. Not sure what can be more motivating than that at the time.
The weather for the time of year was phenomenal. That is, except for the wind. We had a torrential headwind the entire ride. This isn’t hyperbole. Some other riders said that was the hardest ride in years. Baptism by fire, so next year should be a breeze.
I loved it, I absolutely loved the ride. I loved what we were riding for and got to get up close and personal with the countryside of my favorite state. The thing about bike riding that makes it better than all other forms of transportation is that you are going at a pace that is slow enough to let you enjoy your surroundings, but fast enough to not be impatient.
One day I will ride clear across Texas, but the BPMS150 made going nearly half the state extremely safe and obtainable by anyone who has the desire to try. It was a beautiful and inspiring time that may be one of the most memorable moments in my life. A lot of this had to do with the team I rode with. Some of the most amazing people I know. I’m happy to be part of such a good cause. More information about the MS Society, the BPMS150 and MS can be found at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/